I’m sure you’ve all been to Philadelphia, whether it be going to a pro sports game, family gathering, or a trip to the air port, I think we can all agree that it is a beautiful city.
However there are many parts of Philadelphia that many of you may consider not a very good neighborhood or maybe even dangerous. You’re not the only ones, children who live in these areas often feel scared to even go outside and play in the streets.
I’ll start out by talking about the most popular areas for drug activity in Philly. This being the least out of the three that I’ll talk about, Fifth and Westmoreland in Fairhill, Philadelphia. On this corner people with their eyes sunken and face drawn, they just look like a total mess, go into a Chinese takeout store and leave momentarily without any signs of buying food or drink. They leave with something balled tightly in their hands, clearly not the traditional Chinese takeout food bags or containers.
This next area being Third and Indiana, which is often referred to as the Badlands which I’m sure some of you already know. This area circled here is pretty much a narcotics strip mall. The sidewalks are littered with trash and there are hardly any businesses besides one Chinese takeout store which acts more of a sanctuary for drug dealers instead of a safe restaurant.
There is also a fictional story about of a 14 year old growing up in the Badlands who would run away from home regularly to deal drugs. Even though the story may be fictional, there are probably multiple similar stories happening in Philadelphia right now.
This is the last area I’ll talk about and also considered the most active drug dealing corner. Drug dealers on this corner openly shake pill bottles to civilians passing by. This area under the El has always been considered to be one of the worst.
You may have noticed that there’s a common theme to the popular drug corners. This was that Chinese take out stores are often targeted by dealers as a place to deal. I’m not sure what the exact reason is but I think it was has to do with the fact that most of these restaurants are owned by families who may not speak English very well to contact authorities and they are considered vulnerable to the dealers.
These drug markets are the reason why these areas are considered “bad” or unsafe and keep the children wanting to go outside. Most of the population of these areas of Philadelphia are either people looking for drugs, criminals dealing or doing drugs, or people scared to leave their homes because it isn’t a safe area to be in, especially for kids growing up.
There have been attempts to lessen the drug crime on the streets of Philadelphia and probably the most popular and successful plan was one developed by Mayor Nutter called Operation: Safe Streets.
Step 1 of Operation: Safe Streets was to put cop cars in front of all of the open air drug markets and make arrests on obvious dealers in the area.
Step 2 was to put police on all of the streets patrolling on bikes the more popular drug areas including the ones I mentioned earlier.
More than 300 open air drug markets were shut down and nearly 1000 arrests were made on big time drug dealers.
My mentor, Dr. Dwyer, suggested this movie to me about the drug problems in our nation and how they can be solved. The idea of the movie is that the drug war is unwinnable because the demand of drugs will always continue.
(BEFORE MOVIE) This clip is of a scene in Traffic where one of the characters struggles to give his original drug plan because his daughter is actually a drug addict and he realizes that the drug war is going to be a lot harder to win than he thought. (AFTER MOVIE) The reason why it was choppy is because I had to edit his long pauses so it didn’t go over the maximum movie requirement however every place where you noticed it cut was a part where he struggled to get his point across because his daughter is currently involved in this drug war.
(BEFORE) Here is an example of an idea that was developed by a judge in Hawaii which helped drug addicts lose their addiction through a threat of criminal punishment. (AFTER) That video was just one example of ways to end the drug wars and limiting the demand for these drugs.
Even though after watching Traffic it may seem as though there isn’t much hope for the drug crime in Philadelphia, I think there still is with the right ideas.
Now I’m going to talk about a program you all are familiar with. How many have you have taken the DARE program in middle school? … I have a problem with the DARE program. I participated in this program when I was in 5 th grade as well as this child right here, however I can hardly remember any useful information that was taught to me through this program and it will not be helpful for me throughout my life. Can I get a show of hands of any of you who remember anything from this program or have found it useful to you?
This was a problem that I ran into while doing my first project idea. It was to propose the DARE program to be included in the Philadelphia Middle School day. The problem was that these kids are already receiving the program and it is having very little impact if at all to their drug choices.
This chart here is proof that the DARE program is not making any impact on Philadelphia students in the High School grade levels.
After running into this problem, I decided to change my project idea into attempting to change the DARE program to extend throughout high school so that students are learning drug education throughout their school years. Unfortunately I have yet to hear back from them.
In conclusion, remember that the only thing keeping this drug war going is the demand from us. Each time you accept something from a drug dealer, you are promoting this drug war.
Drug Effects On Philadelphia’S Crime Rates
Drug’s Effect on Philadelphia’s Crime Rate Tom Conway